Author Topic: FEAR immediately after FIRE -- am I the only one?  (Read 5260 times)

RapmasterD

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FEAR immediately after FIRE -- am I the only one?
« on: September 02, 2014, 05:37:49 PM »
I know I've got high quality "problems" and please don't face punch me for that. 

After 30 years of working post-college I walked away from my job last Friday (middle management position at a tech company). Candidly I was shocked by the outpouring of support from colleagues -- of sadness they expressed for themselves, a combination of anger and happiness toward me, and a desire to drink heavily and yuck it up WITH me. Yes, it was a Jimmy Stewart "It's a Wonderful Life" moment, to some extent.

BCKGD: I'm married. My wife is eight years younger than me. We have a four year old kid and a little, obnoxious pain in the ass dog that my wife and kid love. My wife brought in ~60% of our revenue last year. Financial issues are not my FEAR, although we do need to trim a few things back. E.G., It was really nice firing the dog walker that charged us $23 per weekday. Again, I asked for no face punches. I mean yes, I know that this one alone is fucking ridiculous!

Where was I....? It's just a big freakin' mental and energy adjustment -- moving from being overcommitted and booked and perpetually running late on deliverables and surrounded by globs of people in a crowded office in a big city with a never boring commute (ahem) to...well...not much of any activity at all.

Sure, I've got a bunch of "stuff" written out of things I want to do, including volunteering, starting my own blog, and perhaps even working part time eventually...or heck, even full time.

And I know that with a few quick searches on this forum I can find people with ample suggestions on what one CAN do that is meaningful and nice. My question is: are there any other Type A-ers out there who felt the need to walk away and yet got concerned, early on, about going a bit stir crazy? For me it's early days and that...I know. Case in point: I'm not even at the level of defining my new purpose yet, because candidly I'm a bit numb.

How DID and DO you master your mind/emotions/thinking on this one?
« Last Edit: September 02, 2014, 05:41:03 PM by RapmasterD »

Dicey

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Re: FEAR immediately after FIRE -- am I the only one?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2014, 06:40:00 PM »
Hey RD, all that and you didn't even mention losing your mom. I bring it up because I want you to be aware that it could also be a big factor. You want to grab life by the balls, especially after losing her, but aren't 100% sure where to start. I'd recommend starting with your son. Enjoy the heck out of him every single minute before he's totally sucked into the school system.

Do fun things for your wife as well. I don't mean like the laundry because I assume you've already worked that part out. I mean nice things like you did when you were dating. Maybe start with making her lunch in the morning and put a love note in it. DH and I get up before the crack of dawn. I make him breakfast and lunch (including love note every day). Then we walk together to his work, a whopping 3/10 of a mile each way, but at least it's up a hill, so I absolutely count it as a workout. Then I come home and go back to bed. I am not joking.

As for volunteering, a great resource is the Volunteer Center of the East Bay. They serve Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The cool thing is that you can peruse many different offerings. You can try almost anything out for a few hours and see what feels good to you before making any major time commitments.

I occasionally use the parking lot at Caldecott Field to hike into Redwood Park. This is a very popular dog walker's truck/van staging area. I had no idea they charged that much! Wow, just wow! P.S. I don't care what it costs. You can afford it and you can't afford for your bad dog to tear up your house. I inherited one bad dog and one not-quite-as-bad dog when I got married, so I feel your pain. The neurotic one is a Shitty Poo, so she certainly lives up to her breed name.

I describe myself as a recovering Type A, so my best and hardest to follow advice is just to relax. You might want to start by treating this like a vacation. Break "the rest of your life" into smaller chunks and it won't feel so overwhelming. Most of all, keep writing, it's great therapy. Of course, by that I mean be sure to keep writing here so we can cheer you on.

RapmasterD

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Re: FEAR immediately after FIRE -- am I the only one?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2014, 08:37:34 PM »
Thanks so much, Diane. You are a kind heart with a great memory.

Yes, my mother has had a long slow decline that accelerated last May with a series of events I won't repeat here. And it was at that point that I thought...WTF am I doing with the remaining years of my life? But the transition is......interesting.

Great advice all around. Yes, I already do all the laundry. I fired our "helping hands" last February after learning what we were paying her. I'd have to work up to making my wife lunch -- I do make our dinners...

Thanks for the suggestion on the volunteering resource. I live in San Mateo County but have to believe there is something similar here. I live very close to Second Harvest Food Bank but they seem to be overflowing with volunteers.

I walked the dog a brisk three miles today. She then had a fit with her water dish and tracked her muddy paws through our house. Three words. Jack. Russell. Terrier.

Again, thank you.

Dicey

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Re: FEAR immediately after FIRE -- am I the only one?
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2014, 12:23:19 AM »
1. I do make our dinners...

2. I live in San Mateo County but have to believe there is something similar here. I live very close to Second Harvest Food Bank but they seem to be overflowing with volunteers.

3. Jack. Russell. Terrier.


1. Can you make extra and pack it for her lunch? DH doesn't have convenient microwave access, so not an option for me. He is, however, willing to eat the same breakfast and lunch every single day, for which I am mighty grateful, because 4:45am is not a good decision making time for my brain.

2. I don't know why I thought you were in Alameda County. Whoops!

2A. I think it's kind of an open secret that many people volunteer at the food bank as a way of getting food without having to "ask" for it. Not a criticism, I'd probably use the same approach if I was in tough circumstances. Meals on Wheels is another great option, but they have very specific time commitments.

3. I am getting a very clear picture and I'm laughing with you, not at you.

RapmasterD

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Re: FEAR immediately after FIRE -- am I the only one?
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2014, 02:10:55 PM »
Diane C - Thanks again for the response. Yup, I looked into Meals on Wheels and yes...too restrictive here on the Peninsula. And I might sound like a prick, but no I'm not driving my car around...I know I know. I signed up for a shift at GLIDE up in SF next week -- truly great organization!

Thanks for the tip, 4alpacas! I'll look into that organization. My wife will laugh heartily at the dog walking suggestion. I do love dogs....OTHER people's dogs! Thanks again.

RapmasterD

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Re: FEAR immediately after FIRE -- am I the only one?
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2014, 04:27:54 PM »
4alpacas -- My wife wanted the dog. Imported from New Jersey. Cost us $1,700 (face punch). Has probably caused a couple of thousand dollars ' damage to the house (face punch).  We were paying $23/day -- or approximately $460/month, for a dog walker. That last figure alone makes me sick (I just punched myself in the face).

G-dog

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Re: FEAR immediately after FIRE -- am I the only one?
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2014, 06:42:08 PM »
I walked the dog a brisk three miles today. She then had a fit with her water dish and tracked her muddy paws through our house. Three words. Jack. Russell. Terrier.

We have two, god I love them but they are feisty little pains in the ass!  One of them bit me yesterday morning when I was trying to stop a fight before it started. My SO is waking them now because they barked at him for 10-15 minutes after he finished dinner.
But, they are so cute, and funny, and smart... (Note: well-behaved is not in the list, at least for our two)

G-dog

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Re: FEAR immediately after FIRE -- am I the only one?
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2014, 06:47:19 PM »
4alpacas -- My wife wanted the dog. Imported from New Jersey. Cost us $1,700 (face punch). Has probably caused a couple of thousand dollars ' damage to the house (face punch).  We were paying $23/day -- or approximately $460/month, for a dog walker. That last figure alone makes me sick (I just punched myself in the face).

Ours are from a rescue league - $100 each to help offset their costs (they are like a shelter organization).  I have an issue with folks that pay big bucks for dogs when there are TOO many great dogs in shelters!

I am too cheap to hire a dog walker. We have a fenced in yard, which means we can let them run around and burn off some energy!

Trudie

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Re: FEAR immediately after FIRE -- am I the only one?
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2014, 10:47:02 AM »
Diane C. offered some great advice, so I don't really know if I can add much else.  But, I can say that what you're experiencing is natural.  I am not FIRE yet, but will probably end up working a wee bit longer than I need to because I can't quite yet figure out how to unravel my Type-A personality.  I'm big on structure.  I notice that when I'm not working or commuting I'm making lists about all the "stuff" I "need" to do on the weekends.  I'm pretty organized.  Lol.

I think Diane C's BEST advice was to really focus on your relationships.  It sounds like you dearly love your family and you will NEVER regret the time you spend.  Who knows?  You may even make peace with the damn dog?  (My long suffering dad couldn't stand our hyper little pup when we were growing up, but then bawled when he had to bury her.  In the end, he knew we loved her so it was hard on him.)

One thing I've learned from observing others transitioning into retirement, including my parents who retired early, is that the transition happens in phases.  I think at first it's natural to feel a little restless.  It is more like a vacation.  You may need to "structure" relaxation.  I always thought that I might take up an activity like yoga or meditation that might help me calm my mind a bit.

Then as you transition into retirement and explore volunteer opportunities or work opportunities you are likely to "try things on" a bit before you commit.  That's only natural, and is healthy.  I would not commit to any volunteer experience long-term or any employment until you've tested the waters a bit.  There's a big difference between being "kept busy" and absorbing your time with relationships and activities you really enjoy.  Unfortunately, I think many volunteer activities don't always pan out and sometimes people feel like unwelcome appendages or not particularly useful.  But, great opportunities do come along and I am a big fan of meaningful volunteerism.

4alpacas

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Re: FEAR immediately after FIRE -- am I the only one?
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2014, 11:57:10 AM »
RapmasterD, you should start a blog about your dog. I would totally read it.  I'm obsessed with The Frugalwoods family because they like saving money and post tons of dog pictures. 

When I mentioned that I was going to retire in 10 years (we're FI now) to a friend, he questioned me about what I would do with my time.  I love my job.  I need challenges. I've thought about it and realized I would never truly retire according to the retirement police.  I am going to start looking for opportunities that I can continue during retirement (contract work).  For now, I'm going to snuggle with my dog and keep coding. 

Good luck with your journey!  Keep us posted...about you and your dog.

Squirrel away

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Re: FEAR immediately after FIRE -- am I the only one?
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2014, 12:02:56 PM »
I walked the dog a brisk three miles today. She then had a fit with her water dish and tracked her muddy paws through our house. Three words. Jack. Russell. Terrier.

We have two, god I love them but they are feisty little pains in the ass!  One of them bit me yesterday morning when I was trying to stop a fight before it started. My SO is waking them now because they barked at him for 10-15 minutes after he finished dinner.
But, they are so cute, and funny, and smart... (Note: well-behaved is not in the list, at least for our two)

I have a rescue JRT and she really is a total jerk, too intelligent for her own good and wants constant attention.

RapmasterD

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Re: FEAR immediately after FIRE -- am I the only one?
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2014, 04:17:43 PM »
Thanks for all the follow on responses.

Yes, I intend to start a blog -- not featuring my dog....sorry!

Yes, Diane C. is a superstar and I appreciate her counsel.

Trudie - YOUR advice was/is powerful. THANK YOU.

deborah

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Re: FEAR immediately after FIRE -- am I the only one?
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2014, 08:49:05 PM »
I retired a few years ago from a very demanding job. I was very skeptical about how I would fill my time.

I was lucky - I had applied to do a degree, and was accepted while I was working. As I live in Australia, I had long service leave owing to me (3 months), and 2 months of normal leave, because I hadn't taken what I had accumulated. So I managed to take 10 months leave at half pay to do the first year of the course - which I did part time. This allowed me to conquer my fear of retirement and test the waters. I had planned to go back to work for a year, but when I got back it was such a let down that I retired several weeks later.

However, the degree was very demanding, so I was just exchanging one demanding thing for another, and not really "retiring". It was redesigned last year, and the design subjects (why I was doing the course) have been removed. The co-ordinator has yet to tell me what subjects I would need to do to complete the redesigned course (a year and a half later). My father was very sick last year, so I spent a lot of time driving 7 1/2 hours to or from my parent's place every 2 weeks.

This year I am finally "free" - and I don't know what to do. I feel like it's the first time in my life that there isn't something I have to do. I am gradually taking on commitments. Most of them are short term - I don't feel ready to make a commitment to do something for years - or will set me up to take up challenges. It is my parent's 60th wedding anniversary next year, so I'm collating a book of their lives. I'm writing another book about part of my family history that also needs to be finished next year. Gradually reducing the amount of junk in the house and reorganising it for retirement. Setting myself up to travel (sleeping in my car) and going on trips up to a month long. Organising the garden so it is even more productive.

All these things might be delaying thinking about "what I want to do when I grow up", but they also allow me to think about it in small doses, and not make premature decisions. I think they are preparation rather than procrastination - after all, I have thirty more good years, so I might as well prepare for it properly.

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Re: FEAR immediately after FIRE -- am I the only one?
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2014, 08:25:53 AM »
Going through exactly what you described - hustle & bustle to a much more calm, non-stressful pace.  I have been on sabbatical for 9 weeks now as I practice for RE (already FI but not ready to stop working in some way or another).  As others have mentioned, I focused on my relationships.  I have come from a job that was 75% travel so being home and present has been quite the gift.  I fill my time with my family and doing normal things like taking the kiddo to school or practice, things I had not been here for previously.  I also took a couple of my deep interests and explored them more - several trips in our Pacific NW (stunning place and I want to see it all!), cooking at home (learned to make yogurt; working on homemade vegetable stock today; trying new recipes), getting local - more time for spiritual activities, going to the University farmer's market in Seattle (our favorite), grew Sungold tomatoes, making plans for an urban garden.  I am journaling every day and reading, a favorite past-time.  Spending time with my camera and learning better digital photography.  Getting my family walking and out on hikes.  And doing lots of introspection on what I want to do next - trying not to rush the process (very hard to do).  I have realized along the way that I want to get involved in building one more thing (I have worked at 3 startups over the past 20 years) - it is a bit in my blood, so having time to figure that out was important, yet figuring it out in a way that allows me to embrace my family and my community locally instead of the travelling treadmill.  I have also spent the time taking the next steps in the FI realm - property, additional investments, and the like.  I would sum up my approach as one centered on family, getting local, and allowing my next step to simmer quietly.